We’ve been spoilt for choice, no doubt. Ask any journalist who’s been at the receiving end of the barrage of listings, phone calls and multiple mail requests to feature cultural events that have been making first-time entries in our calendars post October last year.
Somewhere, amid this flood that continues to invade our inboxes, a smile has crept in — mostly, to celebrate the fact that the city is finally waking up to giving its cultural character a longer lifeline. Children’s book festivals (a mention in today’s The Guide), annual performing arts events, festivals around neighbourhoods, food, music and film festivals…the works.
What’s doubly heartening is to hear and read about new faces, rare talent, and the commoner stepping up and taking initiative to showcase these events, thereby giving us city folk much more to cheer and anticipate about in the coming weeks. Gone are the days when barely a handful of festivals would line the December-January period. Now, come every weekend, it’s a common feature for us editors to play juggler while trying to figure ways and means to accommodate column space amid the flurry of activities and festivals scattered (thankfully) across the length and breadth of the city.
While we hope, for the sake of the cultural landscape of the city, that this trend not only flourishes but also spreads to lesser-tread parts of the city, another thought is to ensure that these festivals are staggered across the rest of the year as well.
Typically, the city’s love-hate affair with the long monsoon tends to plays spoilsport more often than not, putting a lid on outdoor events. But we could surely do with a healthy dose on indoor events in this time — musical nights, more book clubs dos and film festivals. It’s bound to spread sunshine during this otherwise dull period.
Also, summertime might be packed with children’s events; yet we believe that grown-ups could sure do with a lot more to choose from in these months, especially the variety those folk who cannot set out on long vacations to cooler climes or exotic destinations.
As one has been witnessing our cultural calendar get a makeover, it’s clear that Mumbai’s sleeping giants are waking up, ensuring for diverse platforms to emerge, to showcase immense potential, with countless possibilities and idea-creators from all corners. We simply need to take up cases, put it out there, and set a blueprint to encourage, support and initiate more people into this grand cause, with every passing year.
And, soon, a day will come when we can proudly stake claim to be India’s cultural capital. We can’t wait.
— The writer is Features Editor, MiD DAY